New group to spearhead school renovation effort

Mar 12, 2019

A second high school facilities renovation group, called Restore ORR, has launched to help guide a plan to fix the auditorium, track and main field renovation through a school committee and town meeting review.

The group will supplement the work of Tri-Town Unified Recreational Facilities, Inc (T.U.R.F), a group founded in 2015 to install two synthetic playing fields, redo the high school’s track, install a field house, partially re-fence the tennis court, provide LED lighting, covered spectator seats and press box.

That original plan would cost the town around $5 million, a figure that school committee members feared was too high. So, at the December school committee meeting, the group presented a new plan, valued at about $2 million.

The new group presents a partial version of this plan, and also includes improvements to the school’s auditorium and lighting system.

Restore ORR looks to resurface the main field with artificial turf, build the new track, install LED lights, and make two changes to the auditorium, installing LED lights and upgrade the sound system.

“Restore ORR includes people who are supportive of the arts as well as athletics, who are focused specifically on supporting the passage of the project to renovate the auditorium, track and main field,” said Hal Rood the contact for the group.

The cost to the average homeowner under a 15-year debt-schedule would be $19.57 a year in Mattapoisett, $25.11 a year in Marion, and $34.39 a year in Rochester, according to materials released by Restore ORR. 

“The Drama Club welcomes the proposed improvements to the auditorium,” said Lisa Cardoza, the president of Friends of Old Rochester Drama. “We’ve been looking forward to those renovations for some time, and look forward to the stage once again being fully lit.”

The School Committee has yet to approve of the plan, as it has not been presented in its final form. The committee will discuss and vote on the proposal at its March 26 meeting.

If the proposal passes the school committee, it will come before Town Meeting voters in all three towns.